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Re: Computational ASA -- how many sources can humans perceive?

   On the evidence below:
Some of this might be that perception in general (as against specifically
auditory prc) isn't good at simulteneity. Look at the numbers of dots on a
die - we can all recognise "five" because of the pattern that is the
conventional way of arranging 5 dots on a die.alter the pattern, and see
what happens. Similarly, I have 6 hens wandering round my garden; there are
two black ones, two marans (speckeldy grey), one brown hen and one smaller
yokohama. If they happen to be lined up just so, I can instantly tell that
they are all present. If they are well separated - even if in my field of
view simultaneously, I can't tell as easily; I have to count them. Counting
isn't simultaneous perception, it's sequential.
I had once been told that hens were stupid because they could only count:
one, two, and 'many'; it turns out that I'm not all that much brighter!
But is the ability to correctly report the number of simultaneous items
synonymous with 'perception'? - after all, when I drive at (relatively) high
speed down the road, I'm clearly not able to accurately report the number of
items; however, I generally manage to avoid them. Am I able, therefore, to
perceptually use 'non-segregated', holistic information?
This is really an argument for a kind of 'perceptual background/context'
that contains items that have the potential for segregation into foreground
objects of attention, but surely not simultaneously. Cocktail party effects
just wouldn't work if we couldn't understand anything if there were more
than three talkers. But I don't need to consciously judge the number of
talkers to hear if my name is spoken; surely, I don't need to unconciously
judge the number either? On the other hand, if I was asked to find a
particular talker in a crowded large room by hearing alone, could I do it? -
given enough time, possibly.
Likewise, in the rain it is rather difficult to focus on a particular
raindrop - however, if there is a regular drip from a particular feature,
one can pick that out, and after a while, one can pick out scores - but it's
not simultaneous, or effortless.
There seems to be a possibility of conflating perception with attention,
perhaps? - or rather, it's very difficult to tease them apart, but this is
what would be necessary if one is to study the equivalent of scene analysis
modules that apply particular algorithms to an auditory compound.
In any event, is it a reasonable assumption that humans actually do
implement ASA  as some kind of stand alone application? - surely, this would
be some kind of special case, whereas the generality of scene analysis
problems would be approached with all senses, and these might integrate at
even quite peripheral levels, so that 'scene analysis' is more often an
auditory/visual/olfactory/haptic kind of problem?

>"For instance,
> Jennifer Tufts and Tom Frank J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 101 , 3107 (1997) found
> that the accuracy of judging the number of talkers in a multitalker
> drops considerably when there are more than 3 talkers.
    "There is also a
    > report by David Huron (Music Perception, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2001) pp.
    > or on-line
    >  ) that estimating the number of musical lines in
    >  polyphonic music worsens considerably after 3.  Some anecdotal
    > for this limit also comes from movie sound effect designers.  This is
    > citation from Walter Murch, a renown sound effect artist: "There is a
    > of thumb I use which is never to give the audience more than
    > things to think about aurally at any one moment. Now, those moments
    > shift very quickly, but if you take a five-second section of sound and
> the audience more than two-and-a-half conceptual lines at the same time,
> they can't really separate them out. There's just no way to do it, and
> everything becomes self-canceling." (cited from
> http://www.filmsound.org/murch/waltermurch.htm)"
> Any thoughts, comments, and references relevant to this issue are
> appreciated.
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Valeriy Shafiro
> Communication Disorders and Sciences
> Rush University Medical Center
> Chicago, IL
> office (312) 942 - 3298
>  lab    (312) 942 - 3316
> email: valeriy_shafiro@rush.edu